The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (November 26) announced the test results of a recently completed seasonal food surveillance project on the microbiological quality of poon choi. Thirty samples were collected and all passed the tests.
A CFS spokesman said, “As poon choi is popular for gatherings during winter and there were previous cases of bacterial food poisoning associated with poon choi, the CFS has continued to conduct a seasonal food surveillance project this year to assess the microbiological quality of poon choi. A total of 30 poon choi samples were collected from different retailers (including online retailers) for testing of common food poisoning organisms including Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella, coagulase-positive staphylococci organisms and Vibrio parahaemolyticus.”
Despite the satisfactory results of all samples tested, the spokesman reminded people to be careful when purchasing and enjoying this seasonal delicacy. He advised consumers to order poon choi from licensed and reliable shops, avoid prolonged storage of poon choi at room temperature to reduce the risk of bacteria growth, reheat poon choi thoroughly before consumption, consume cooked or reheated poon choi as soon as possible or keep the food at temperatures above 60 degrees Celsius, and stop consuming the food if it tastes or smells abnormal.
“The public should also maintain a balanced diet and avoid eating too much food with high levels of energy, sugar, salt or fat,” the spokesman said.
He also appealed to the food trade not to entertain orders beyond handling capacity. Traders are reminded to check the quality of food and ingredients when they are delivered to them. In addition, to reduce the risk of food poisoning, they should avoid preparing food too far in advance and take note of the temperature in storing, transporting and preparing food.
“All food and food ingredients should be stored at safe temperatures while perishable items should be stored at 4 degrees C or below. The cooling time of cooked food should be reduced as far as possible, for example, by dividing food into smaller portions or placing it in shallow containers. When transporting hot poon choi, it should be kept at above 60 degrees C, and for chilled poon choi, it should be kept at 4 degrees C or below,” the spokesman said.
“Traders should also provide clear advice on the proper methods of storing and reheating of poon choi to consumers so as to further reduce the risk of food poisoning due to improper handling,” he added.
The CFS will continue its surveillance of poon choi available in the market to ensure food safety and protect the health of the public.